Monday, September 5, 2016

The Great Fire Redux

London burned again yesterday, only this time only in the form of a 320 foot long replica built for the occasion out of wood on the banks of the Thames. 

Watch the London Replica burn here:

Here is how al-Jazeeria covered the story:

For the Guardian's version of the story, go here. 

For more pictures of the event, go here. 

The Guardian also has a story about major buildings that were destroyed in the Great Fire, including St Paul's, here.

Given the profound impact that the Great Fire had on Wren's career as an architect, I've always had a sneaking suspicion that Wren set the Fire in Pudding Lane. 

But I know that's silly talk. Just joking folks, just joking . . . . .

Sunday, September 4, 2016

St Paul's and The Great Fire

The Great Fire of London reached St Paul's Cathedral 350 years ago today, on September 4th, 1666.

The photograph above, from the Evening Standard, suggests that the folks at Wren's St Paul's have been having fun projecting images of a fire onto the dome, perhaps as part of a memorial event.

We proposed several years ago that the folks at the cathedral work with us to have a more elaborate exhibit on this 350th anniversary occasion. 

Our plan would have involved projecting images of the preFire cathedral onto the facade of today's cathedral, then adding images of the fire, to conclude with today's St Paul's rising from the ashes.  

But we didn't get anywhere -- the cathedral's response was that they weren't sure their fire insurance would cover the risk.

Seems they figured out the difference between virtual and real fire, in time for the Great Fire Anniversary.

In any case, if you want a chronology of the Great Fire, please see below. 

And watch the VPCP website for some significant changes in the days and weeks ahead. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Paul's Cross on TAP

The Virtual Paul's Cross Project was discussed on On TAP, a podcast about Theater and Performance Studies sponsored by the Performing Arts Department at Washington University in St Louis. group, consisting of Sarah Bay-Cheng of Bowdoin College, Pannill Camp of Washington U, and Harvey Young of Northwestern Unnversity.

Go HERE to listen to the podcast, all of which is very worthwhile, but if you want to hear their discussion of our work, forward to the last 10 minutes or so.

The folks at On TAP describe this podcast as "a three-headed, freewheeling conversation about topics of current interest to graduate students, professors, independent scholars, and all those interested in academic Theatre and Performance Studies. 

"Each edition features Sarah Bay-Cheng, Pannill Camp, and Harvey Young talking about several topics of field-wide interest, including trends in ideas, theories, methods, pedagogy, career development, and developments in research, publishing, and hiring. 

"Something like a cross between a casual faculty seminar and an impromptu conversation at the conference hotel bar, On TAP features established scholars discussing a rapidly evolving field of knowledge. It is free to download and a great way to stay connected to the field."  

I'm honored that these folks have been discussing our work, especially since I've been reminded how preaching at Paul's Cross (or anywhere, for that matter) was a kind of theater. One reason so many clergy in the early modern period have negative things to say about the theater of that day was, of course, that they were all in the same line of work. 

For more on the folks who do this podcast, go here.  

If you want to hear our podcast from this site, we are part of Podcast #4. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

John Schofield publishes St Paul's Cathedral: Archaeology and History

John Schofield, the Archaeologist at St Paul's Cathedral, member of our Production Team for the Virtual St Paul's Project, and author of St Paul's Cathedral Before Wren (2011), is now publishing a companion volume, St Paul's Cathedral: Archaeology and History, due out in September from Oxbow

UK preorders are being accepted here, from the usual source in the UK.

USA preorders are being accepted here, from the usual source in the USA. 

Dr Schofield's work documents the archaeological history of Wren's St Paul's, and describes as well the changes it has gone through since its initial completion in the early 18th century. 

While, to me, this building is important chiefly as the home for John Donne's memorial statue, Wren's St Paul's has served as the cathedral of the Diocese of London through the rise and fall of England's empire and through the crises of English history in the 20th century.

Everyone knows the iconic image, above, of St Paul's dome rising above the smoke of bombs dropped on London during the Blitz, embodying the spirit of England's commitment to keep calm and carry on during Hitler's efforts at conquest.

The publishers celebrate Schofield's work in this volume, reviewing the cathedral's "history from the early 18th to the early 21st century, as illustrated by recent archaeological recording, documentary research and engineering assessment."

Schofield also provides "A detailed account of the construction of the cathedral . . . based on a comparison of the fabric with voluminous building accounts which have survived and evidence from recent archaeological investigation."

This volume is a must-have for people interested in the history of baroque architecture, the career of Sir Christopher Wren, and the cultural role of St Paul's as the iconic center of London's growth as a world capital and as the best-known building at the heart of the Church of England and the world-wide Anglican Communion. 

Congratulations to John Schofield, our good friend and professional colleague, for bringing us this landmark of archaeological and architectural history. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Willard McCarty Visits Virtual Paul's Cross

Willard McCarty, a member of our Advisory Committee, Professor of Humanities Computing at King’s College London, and Adjunct Professor in the Digital Humanities Research Group, Western Sydney University, joined us in Raleigh for several days in late June of 2016.

McCarty visited with the digital humanities faculty here at NC State and was able to explore a number of our on-going projects on display in our Hunt Library's Teaching and Visualization Lab. 

McCarty also learned about our new interdisciplinary Visual Narratives cluster project, just now getting developed.  

McCarty's visit was a highlight of our summer, and a reminder that we are grateful when members of our Advisory Committee can drop by for a visit. 

The Paul's Cross -- and soon to be Cathedral -- website gives a great deal of information about our work, but the opportunity to experience the installation at our Hunt Library is a whole 'nother experience. 

The 10 high definition projectors cast a seamless 270-degree image of Paul's Churchyard, and the 21 speakers immerse the viewer inside the acoustic model of the churchyard. 

If you can come to Raleigh, this is not to be missed! We promise to roll out the red carpet.